2018 EarthWISE Green Awards
Garten Services, Wildwood/Mahonia and Spring Valley Dairy took home prestigious Green Awards at the first-ever Sustainability Luncheon in February.
Marion County's Green Awards recognize organizations that excel in eco-friendly practices. These three longtime Salem businesses showcase how sustainability enhances business, creates new opportunities and saves money.
Garten provides jobs to hundreds of people with disabilities in recycling, commercial laundry, mail services, packaging and assembly, custodial services and secure document destruction. Its daybreak program in Dallas and South Salem provides day activities and other enrichment activities to another 250 people with disabilities.
In its recycling operation, Garten has discovered several new opportunities that have expanded job opportunities as well as helped the environment.
In the electronics recycling area, a team of workers refurbishes computers to be sold in Garten's store or on eBay. For general recycling, workers are trained to notice still-good items and pull them off the conveyor belt. Workers have gleaned reams of paper, file folders, lunch trays, label makers and metal file cabinets.
It has meant that the Garten Electronics and Reuse Store has been so successful that it opens its doors twice as often as it did in the past.
Wildwood/Mahonia has found that sustainability makes for great business.
Wildwood/Mahonia is a family of companies whose holdings include a plant nursery and sustainable vineyard, innovative green buildings rented to local environmentally minded businesses, and community efforts such as an annual literary and arts publication that honors watershed restoration. In each endeavor, the company incorporates community service.
Wildwood/Mahonia took home the Small EarthWISE Business of the Year Green Award.
Its businesses include: Woodscape Glen, the first-of-its-kind sustainable residential development; Mahonia Vineyard, which is certified by 2 different eco-friendly certification companies; Mahonia Nursery where rare white oaks are grown after being rescued from development sites; and developments such as the East Pringle Innovation Center, a 12-acre development with a solar thermal hot water system, solar panels, and energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems designed to be a hub for food processing and agriculture-related businesses.
Spring Valley Dairy
The third winner of a 2018 Green Award, Spring Valley Dairy, underscores the fact that businesses can go green and also save money. Spring Valley Dairy received the Large EarthWISE Business of the Year Green Award.
Spring Valley Dairy, which keeps restaurants and coffee shops supplied with fresh dairy products, examines all of its resource use to find ways to reduce waste.
Spring Valley Dairy has found a lot to reduce paper waste and now save 8,400 reams of paper a year by switching their delivery system to digital scanners . The switch also means money saved due to accuracy—inventory is rarely lost now that the handheld computers scan and track everything.
The company is so deliberate about its waste-not mentality that it is even paying attention to how many paper checks it sends with its employees. Its goal is 100 percent direct deposit and it has almost reached its goal.
For a company that needs to deliver fresh products to customers in a timely manner, a fleet of trucks is a priority. But it isn't a drain on the environment for Spring Valley Dairy.
The trucks themselves have been overhauled to meet the green standards at the dairy. Of the 50-truck fleet, 16 of them are equipped with plug-ins to run on electricity when not being driven. This is important for a dairy that relies on cold temperatures in the truck container overnight to preserve its product until the drivers arrive to deliver along their routes.
By hooking these trucks up to an electrical source instead of letting them idle, Spring Valley Dairy saves 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel each year. Even the ones that don't plug in are on an automated start-stop switch so that they are not running constantly.